Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Bay Bridge oil spill affects Angel Island birds


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From the Marin Independent Journal:

The most frustrating moment for Bree Hardcastle came when she spotted the red-tailed hawk.

Part of a breeding pair that lives on Angel Island, the raptor was feeding on an oiled bird when Hardcastle and her small team of avian rescuers came upon the predator during daily surveillance searching for oiled wildlife on the hard-hit state park.

"The mouth and face of the red-tailed hawk was completely covered in oil," recalled the state parks environmental scientist, who works for Marin's six state parks, including Angel Island.

From picturesque Ayala Cove - which less than a week ago was washed with foamy oil that resembled chocolate mousse - to the famed parade ground on the island's south side, beaches, coves and crevasses of San Francisco Bay's largest island are getting a thorough cleansing. In the past week, the island has been ringed with bunker fuel oil from the container ship Cosco Busan, which crashed last Wednesday into the Bay Bridge.
From the San Francisco Chronicle:

The pilot of the freighter that struck the Bay Bridge last week, fouling the bay with 58,000 gallons of fuel, told federal investigators that the accident occurred after the ship's radar failed and the captain of the vessel made a monumental error, a lawyer for the pilot said Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger postponed the start of the bay's normally vibrant fishing season, while cleanup crews made significant headway on the worst-hit beaches, and politicians and environmentalists braced for a flurry of state and federal hearings into the spill.

The most startling of the day's revelations came from attorney John Meadows, who represents John Cota, the pilot of the Cosco Busan last Wednesday. Cota said the Chinese captain of the ship guided the freighter toward a bridge tower in the fog, the attorney said.

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